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Curious about DNA? Thinking of Testing?

There are a number of sources of information about DNA testing on the web, including Facebook and YouTube. Major testing companies such as FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23andMe etc have useful resources, including webinars.

The Federation of Family History Societies in the UK has released a paper to help family historians understand more about DNA testing. While Australian laws may operate differently it contains some worthwhile advice and is included here courtesy of the Federation. 

The SAG hosts lectures and group meetings focussed on practical applications using DNA sites and third party tools.  If you would prefer a live event where you can interact with the presenter and ask questions we also run a quarterly online session called Beginners Introduction to DNA where attendees can learn all about the different types of tests, which companies sell them and what to consider before testing. Please check the Events Calendar for details of upcoming activities.

Tested and want to know what to do next?

To be effective in DNA research you firstly need to be familiar with the evaluation tools provided by your testing company, and secondly be aware of some of the key concepts that underpin the analysis process. Testing companies such as Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, 23andMe, My Heritage etc all provide a range of educational items to assist with their product and all new users should gain familiarity with the relevant testing company's site.

If you would like to start your DNA journey visit our DNA Research Group - Tools in Practice webpage for links to some great introductory websites and blogs belonging to SAG members.

The below image shows the recommended learning pathway for those attending courses at the SAG.

Diagram prepared by Andrew Redfern based on earlier versions by Veronica Williams & Christine Woodlands, 2023

Want to dig deeper into your DNA results, expand your tree or break down a brick wall?

The SAG has two DNA Research Groups which you can attend to learn more about DNA.

Here is a list of upcoming DNA sessions 

Upcoming events

    • 16 December 2023
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 457

     DNA Tools to incorporate into your research planning

    DNA evidence needs to be integrated into a broader research framework and the analysis needs to be undertaken in a systematic manner. Find out about research planning with DNA and hear about useful tools, including a template that you can use to share your DNA findings with others.

    This session will be held online via the Zoom platform.

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec

    This group meeting will be recorded so you can join live or watch the recording later.

    • 16 December 2023
    • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 482

    DNA Research Group - Discussion Group: Case Study

    This session is a facilitated discussion session which will examine and discuss research planning techniques for solving more complex problems using DNA evidence. It requires pre-work by participants and information about the case studies and discussion questions will be distributed before the meeting. All participants are expected to contribute to the discussion.

    This session will be held online via the Zoom platform.

    Skill level: Advanced

     Facilitator: Sharon Watson

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec

    Please note: The topics and tools discussed at this group are pitched at an advanced level and the Research Discussion Group meetings are not recommended for those just beginning their DNA journey.

    This is an online session. It will NOT be recorded due to privacy reasons, so you should only book if you can attend live.

    • 13 January 2024
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 499

    Receiving your DNA test results is an exciting time but it can quickly become confusing. This session will look at the different types of tests available, which one is right for you and which companies do these tests. We will look at some basics to help you understand and interpret your matches and there will be plenty of time for questions so you can start finding those new cousins!

    This is an online session using the ZOOM platform.

    It will NOT be recorded due to privacy reasons, so you should only book if you can attend live.

    Skill level: Beginners

         Presenter: Melissa Hulbert    

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 27 January 2024
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 497

    Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT) User Group

    If you already have DNA chromosome analysis skills and are using the GDAT database tool to manage your DNA information, you might wish to join our new user group.  SAG user groups are aimed at ‘members helping members’ so this is a collaborative working group aimed at sharing information and knowledge.  You must be a SAG member to join this group.

    Sessions will include a short presentation on a specified topic identified by the group, followed by discussion between group members, then round table Q&A regarding the product.  We will meet on Saturdays at 10.00-12.00 using the Zoom platform.  We won’t be recording the sessions, so you must attend live.

    Important things to note:

    1. Discussion will be focussed on utilising the GDAT software for DNA analysis;
    2. Members must have an understanding of the principles of chromosome analysis before joining the group;
    3. Chromosome analysis questions WILL NOT be discussed, except in the context of using the GDAT product.

    Pre-requisite Knowledge for using GDAT:

    1. Be computer literate;
    2. Have the ability to work with spreadsheets and large data sets;
    3. Have been working with DNA results at GEDmatch, FamilyTree DNA, My Heritage, or 23andMe for over 12 months;
    4. Understand the concepts of chromosome analysis and can apply them in practice, in particular:
      1. Be able to differentiate between shared matches and shared segments;
      2. Be able to interpret when matches are ICW on a segment;
      3. Understand triangulation concepts and how to identify Triangulated Groups at each DNA site.

    Before joining our user group, it is best if you have already:

    * Watched the video and undertaken all the tasks in the Quick Start Guide (Setting up) -

    * Read how the developer (Becky) approaches her DNA analysis, recognising the tool allows for multiple variations -

    * Set up at least one profile, added a pedigree for that profile and have uploaded segment data from at least one DNA company, such as GEDmatch, FTDNA, 23&Me or My Heritage.  GEDmatch is probably the easiest to start with, utilising Tier 1 tools is recommended for the triangulation report  (but not essential).

    Any issues arising consult the user guide

    If it's not covered in the user guide submit the question for discussion at the next meeting by posting in the SAG GDAT User Group, or if the enquiry is more urgent utilise the Facebook GDAT User group

    Skill level: Advanced DNA knowledge    

    Group Lead: Veronica Williams

     This session will not be recorded. Please only register if you are able to attend at the advertised time.

    • 03 February 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 25

    Christine will share her "Top 10" techniques for working with AncestryDNA. This session is ideal for those who are taking a first look at their AncestryDNA test or thinking about testing at AncestryDNA.

    Demonstrations and case studies will be featured in the session. There'll be plenty of time for questions. Reference material will be available after the session.

    This session is limited to 25 participants.

    This session will conducted on through Zoom and will not be recorded. Participants should be available at the advertised time.

    Skill level: Beginner

    Presenter: Christine Woodlands 

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